India is undoubtedly an embodiment of modern values and ancient customs. Its rich cultural heritage has been developed through centuries of assimilation of varied influences, resulting in a multidimensional melting pot of art, religion and philosophy. The acquired influences are interwoven in the Indian way of life and value system.

The Indian subcontinent has been the cradle of civilization since 5000 BC, the lush fertile valleys of Indus and Ganges nurtured the Harappan civilization, which was way ahead of its time. The subsequent Aryan migrants acclimatized wholeheartedly and helped shape the Indian value system that we know today. The rich legacy of our country reverberated not just through India but spread across every nook and corner of the world. Author Will Durant enumerates India’s contributions to the modern world in his book ‘American Durant’, “India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe’s languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all.”

“Unity in Diversity” is the much clichéd phrase used to elucidate the uniqueness of the Indian way of life, yet nothing could put forward the same so succinctly. It is not only the birthplace of  Ayurveda, spirituality and  popular religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, but has even embraced he ideologies of Islam and Christianity with tolerance and flexibility, which speaks volumes about Indian religious pluralism.

More than a hundred different languages spoken by the citizens of the country prove how diverse this nation. The customs, cuisines and style of clothing vary from state to state and fortunately this heritage has been preserved for several generations now. The spiritual doctrines of tolerance proposed by Mahatma Gandhi have been deeply embedded in the average Indian psyche and are being followed in other parts of the world as well.

As Indians, we should be aware of the universalism of our culture and observant of our opulent heritage. We should strive to educate ourselves as well as the coming generations about the richness of our culture and ensure it doesn’t fade away over a period of time.